What started as a student project with the goal of developing a general purpose media player that could handle audio, video and streamed content has now brought us to the long-time open source favourite VLC media player formerly known as VideoLan Client!. Simple, fast and powerful media player. Plays everything: Files, Discs, Webcams, Devices and Streams. VLC media player is a free and open source media player and multimedia framework written by the VideoLAN project. VLC is a portable multimedia player, encoder, and streamer supporting many audio and video codecs and file formats as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It is able to stream over networks and to transcode multimedia files and save them into various formats. The default distribution of VLC includes a large number of free decoding and encoding libraries, avoiding the need for finding/calibrating proprietary plugins. VLC is a packet-based media player, and it can play the video content of some damaged, incomplete, or unfinished videos. For example, files still downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks.
VLC media player has a highly portable framework and works across different platforms. It is available for Windows, Macintosh, and many Linux flavours. The installer is a basic 20MB file and requires 80MB of free space for installation. The wizard lets you choose the language of installation, components and the folder to install and luckily is free of any toolbar installation. On first run we are asked if VLC could get information from the internet and to automatically check for any updates available. Now you’re ready to go!
The player has an excellent menu based interface that is strictly simple and stripped down with command buttons placed methodically at the lower end of the screen.The seek bar is bounded at both of its ends by granular speed control buttons to reduce and/or increase the speed of playback.You have the usual buttons for pause/resume playback, stop playback, previous and next media in the playlist, open playlist, full screen toggle, extended settings for audio-video-subtitles effects and synchronization, repeat and shuffle.
The media information is listed at the bottom with the name of the file currently playing, playback speed and elapsed/remaining time that on double click opens a window to jump to a specific time. The volume slider at the right end enhances the playback volume to a max 200%.The toolbars are fully customizable so you get to choose the buttons needed on the interface. Sometimes I wished the menu bar could be stripped off as all the options are available on right click.
VLC has been one of the favourites for many crazy video cognoscenti and is entirely self-contained so that it remains unruffled against any esoteric video formats to make sure that no additional codecs are required for playback.It lets you create bookmarks and basic playlists to store your local media files, podcast subscriptions and Internet radio stations. The media player is powerful, light, fast and features fully customizable hotkeys that makes it very easy to use.